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How today's land use and zoning impact the Florida of 2070

Think of the changes in society, technology, arts and law that have taken place over the past 50 years. It is possible that the advances and evolutions to come in the next five decades will dwarf those that have taken place since 1967.

While no one can know for certain what lies ahead, researchers do their best to provide us with educated guesses about where we'll be in 2070. Recent studies by 1000 Friends of Florida, the University of Florida and our state’s Department of Agriculture contain forecasts that the public and policymakers alike should bear in mind as decisions are made about land use and zoning.

The 1000 Friends' report titled Florida 2070 says if development continues at its current pace, more than a third of the state will be paved in 2070. That means we will have millions fewer acres of land devoted to agriculture and nature; changes that will impact things such as food supply, natural resources and quality of life.

A related report -- titled Water 2070 -- says we will have nearly 15 million additional state residents by that target date, more than doubling water use and adding to existent water-supply burdens.

A news article says the studies are not all doom and gloom, however. The reports also include suggestions about how we can shape compact development patterns and how modest land- and water-conservation efforts could have significant positive impacts on the future.

The president of nonprofit 1000 Friends says hurricanes Irma and Harvey were stark reminders of how land use decisions impact the environment and our quality of life, but also "the viability of urban landscapes in a future where climate change and associated sea-level rise will make superstorms more frequent and destructive."

The Cocoa law firm of Cantwell & Goldman PA helps clients shape the community today. If you have matters that need to be addressed by the zoning board or county commissioners, we help you navigate the process and paperwork.

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